New website for bias incident reporting
UTSA’s new Campus Climate Team, which launched in November, has been actively monitoring and addressing bias incidents on campus. Last week’s UTSA Today article gives an overview of the Campus Climate Team’s intent and work to address campus incidents that target members of our Roadrunner community based on their beliefs or backgrounds.
We have had a couple of recent examples of incidents addressed by the team.
Last week, the group identified and removed unauthorized flyers placed on campus by representatives of the Horowitz Freedom Center. A review of camera footage identified a non-UTSA affiliated individual responsible for posting the flyers. A criminal trespass warning was subsequently issued and violation of the warning could lead to arrest.
This week, unauthorized flyers posted by the white supremacist group Patriot Front were found in various locations across the Main Campus. They were removed and an investigation has been launched.
I wanted to share these examples with you to give you a sense of the work of the Campus Climate Team. However, we do not wish to make a practice of announcing these incidents each time they occur, as this only serves to bolster efforts by these outside groups to draw attention to themselves.
That said, transparency regarding these incidents is important. Today the Campus Climate Team launched a website to provide accurate information to the community regarding campus bias incidents. It also provides a mechanism for students, faculty and staff to report any unauthorized posters or event flyers they may see. Today’s article on UTSA Today provides more information.
Freedom of expression is vital to institutions of higher education, but we cannot tolerate speech that violates our freedom of expression policies. Recognizing that most forms of offensive speech are protected by the First Amendment, I condemn notions shared by groups that champion intolerance, bigotry and hatred. Their tenets are antithetical to my values, and to UTSA’s core values of integrity, inclusiveness and respect.
I encourage you to use the resources listed on the Campus Climate Team website to report incidents of bias that you witness on our campus. It is our collective responsibility to serve as active bystanders and to help create a learning and working environment that is safe for our entire community.